To paraphrase Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, at the end of the day, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne will always be the guy in the red hat who's in a car with a woman who's not his wife.
Granted, I'm no fan of Monty. But the county attorney, who is a backer of Horne's Republican primary challenger Mark Brnovich, is correct on this point -- one he recently made in the Arizona Capitol Times' Yellow Sheet, albeit not word for word.
But Horne's problems extend beyond his extramarital affair, the hiring of his mistress by the AG's Office, a vehicular hit and run he pleaded no contest to, and assorted campaign finance shananigans.
Indeed, this week's revelations only added to the funky fog of corruption that blankets the AG's Office like a haboob.
New developments include: an e-mail Horne inadvertently sent to Brnovich camp whining about how the Republican women of Prescott don't love him anymore; the release of a video of AG staffer Brett Mecum filing a campaign-related doc with the Arizona Secretary of State's Office; and a resignation note written by ex-employee Sarah Beattie accusing Horne's office of "not following campaign laws or finance laws."
Thing is, Arizona is full of wingnutty politicians tainted by scandal, and even if former Democrat Horne is hardly a true believer, there are plenty far-right politicos willing to lend him a hand, especially since they have their own glass wigwams to worry about. Strength in numbers, and all that.
So should it be any surprise that Sheriff Paul Babeu, a.k.a. "Studboi1," the guy whose attorney allegedly threatened Babeu's Mexican boyfriend with deportation a couple of years ago, will be riding to Horne's defense Saturday afternoon at the Eloy home of John and Betty Peterson?
There, Babeu and others will be hosting a fundraiser for the embattled AG. And reporters are definitely not allowed.
Not that I was all hot to drive down to Eloy, but I was surprised when I called the Peterson residence, and Mrs. Peterson actually kinda-sorta invited me down.
Well, she said she had to check with her husband first, took my number, and promised to call back.
Eventually she did, informing me that the affair was a private one. Unlike Horne's with Carmen Chenal.
Ah, the questions I could have asked.
General Horne, can you pass the canapes, and how is that mistress treating you these days? Got any more on the payroll? Oh, and what's it like being persona non grata in Prescott?
Interestingly, Horne's ex-employee and unofficial whistleblower Beattie recently was involved in helping to organize a fundraiser in Phoenix for the "Babeu for Arizona PAC." Small world.
Mrs. Peterson seemed worried by the possibility of undue attention that a blog post from me might bring, so she asked that I not post her address and phone number, which are on the flier for the event.
I reassured her that it was highly unlikely anyone would bother her. (Um, aside from me.) But as she sounds like a nice lady and asked politely, I'm blurring that info.
Chivalry ain't dead, you see.
Another Horne event on the horizon is scheduled for May 13, and it features such right-wing heavyweights as Sheriff Joe Arpaio, disgraced, recalled ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce, Vladimir Putin fan and chicken farm-crasher Steven Seagal, and the Lord Vader of Nativists, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, author of SB 1070.
Though the flyer for this event has been circulating for a couple of weeks, the location given is apparently incorrect.
There is a University Club in Tempe and one in Phoenix. The flier advertises the event for the one in Tempe, but the folks at the Tempe club tell me the event will actually be held at the Phoenix facility, located at 39 East Monte Vista Road.
Carol Osborne, who is in charge of accounting and membership for the University Club of Phoenix, confirmed that the fundraiser will be held at the Phoenix facility, but she would not confirm the date, saying I'd have to call Horne for that.
Is Horne trying the old switcheroo on possible protesters? Could be. With Arpaio and Kobach at the same event, perhaps trouble is anticipated.
Horne may by counting on confusion as an ally. Or maybe the address mix-up is an innocent mistake.
Arpaio's helping Horne is significant. The sheriff backed now-disbarred and disgraced ex-County Attorney Andrew Thomas against Horne in 2012, even paying for independent ads labeling Horne as pro-Amnesty.
But that was then, and it's always nice to have an AG on your side, or in your pocket.
Currently, Arpaio is sitting on millions in campaign contributions, and he doesn't have to run again till 2016.
I wouldn't be surprised if Arpaio used some of that money to help Horne with independent attack ads, either in the primary or, should Horne survive the primary challenge, in the general against Democrat Felecia Rotellini.
Unless, in the interim, Horne becomes so toxic that even Arpaio wants nothing to do with him.
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